Mario Lopez is reportedly taking over Access Hollywood, but not everyone is happy with this decision!
According to DailyMail.com on Monday, the Saved By The Bell actor is all set to host a revamped version of the entertainment news show, which is being changed to an hour-long format.
The 45-year-old has reportedly been in talks with NBC since last summer and was even flown out to New York to host the annual Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting.
Related: Mario & Courtney Are Expecting Baby #3!
An insider revealed:
“We are planning on blowing up the current format of the show and making Mario the star.”
However, current host Natalie Morales is reportedly “furious” about the changes, as she moved her family across the country to replace Billy Bush in 2016.
An NBC exec source spilled the tea:
“Natalie Morales and [current AH correspondent/co-anchor] Kit Hoover should be very concerned as come the Fall, the show once known as Access Hollywood but now called Access will look nothing like it currently does… The plan is to build the entire show around Mario Lopez – why do you think Extra has announced they are moving to FOX and rumors are circulating that Billy Bush is in discussions to join as the show’s host?… Access never found its footing after Billy left and after two years of trying we feel we need someone with name recognition to anchor the show going forward and we feel Mario Lopez is the right host for the show.”
Innerestingly, as we reported, Bush is reportedly in talks to become a host on Extra, Lopez’s current show. Kind of an entertainment news do-si-do.
Apparently, Morales is super “pissed” at the network as she has “given her heart and soul to the show.” An AH source exclaimed:
“Everyone is pissed that NBC is doing this, but no one is more ticked off than Natalie. I mean he is our competition and now he’s going to come in and save the day. What a joke!… For over a year now we have had consultants in trying to revamp the show. I mean what a smart idea – dropping the ‘Hollywood’ part of the title and calling the show Access… They have even had extremely unfunny comedians weighing in on air. It has been really embarrassing.”
A different AH insider added:
“Natalie is furious. She can’t believe that NBC would do this to her after she moved her family cross country to take the job when Billy Bush left in 2016… She’s given her heart and soul to the show while also waking before dawn most mornings to do hits for NBC’s Today Show where she is their West Coast Anchor… She does not see Mario as her equal but as a cheeseball who is very lucky to have made it to where he is today.”
When Lopez reportedly spoke to execs about the gig last summer, things got really tense behind the scenes:
“Staff got wind of what was happening last summer when rumors were circulating that Mario was positioning himself to be the face of entertainment news for all of NBC… The rumors hit fever pitch during the holidays when Mario was flown to New York to be part of the Rockefeller tree lighting and he isn’t even officially NBC talent. Yet Natalie is an NBC star and she was nowhere to be seen.”
Sources are pissed at the network for being “sneaky” about their reported negotiations AND at Mario himself! One complained:
“It’s also sneaky the way NBC is going about everything. They deny any changes are occurring but everyone can see what is about to happen… We knew something was going on as we’ve watched Mario kissing the asses of certain NBC execs for the past year to convince them to make him a huge deal at NBC. It’s clearly paid off but boy he must have really chapped lips… It’s just not right. This move will damage our brand especially in the wake of the current #MeToo movement – moving two capable female hosts out of the way for a man… While Mario appears clean cut – we’ve been in the industry a very long time and have memories of Mario’s history and we don’t want that anywhere near our show.”
Overall, insiders claim the staff at AH aren’t too impressed with Mario. A different insider revealed:
“This is the guy who publicly admitted to cheating on his fiancée Ali Landry while on his bachelor weekend – which is all kinds of gross… People here were sad when Billy left the show to go to Today and it was really unfair when NBC fired him for the actions of Donald Trump. We still get calls and comments on our social media accounts asking for Billy to come back… If NBC were smart they’d bring Billy back and pair him with Natalie and Kit. That would be a killer show!… One thing is clear though – neither Natalie or our team want Mario on our show or anywhere near it and we hope NBC rethinks this monumental mistake before they make it… It’s doubtful that they will – look at how they handled $69 million Megyn Kelly.“
Hmm. Something tells us not everyone agrees with all that… do YOU?? In any case, we’ll keep you apprised of any more insider goss!
Good luck, Mario… you’re going to need it!
[Image via FayesVision/Judy Eddy/WENN.]